Jake Knight enters the final month of a short but spectacular stay with Edinburgh Accies at Watsonians tomorrow in Group B of Scotland’s rugby Premiership knowing his place in the annals of this country’s oldest club is secure – and with the tantalising prospect of a quick return in the colours of Australian sevens.
Knight joined Accies from Canberra-based Tuggeranong Vikings and made an instant impact when his first two touches of the ball against Hawick in October resulted in tries making his debut one of the most celebrated in the club’s 155-year history. He went on to claim a hat-trick in a 25-0 win and, in establishing an instant reputation as a man who knows his way to the line quickly, added two more touchdowns making for a five from five appearances ration before the league split.
Now, as his time at Accies ends, Jake has revealed the possibility of further connections with Scotland, saying: “My coach at the Vikings has been sounded out as to when I’m coming home so as I might be considered for the Australian seven-a-side squad.
“It would be great to be involved in the Scottish leg of the grand prix circuit later this season or even the 2014 Commonwealth Games. If I don’t make it back, though, maybe Accies will find a place for my younger brother, Tim, who has the same pace gene but is a fair bit bigger than me.”
Explosive pace has been the hallmark of Knight whose grandfather sprinted professionally including in the renowned Stalwell Gift foot race.
Knight adds: “I think my game has benefited through having to make the most of any chance that comes my way because the heavier grounds compared to Australia mean the ball doesn’t get out wide so much. The last few games have even seen me wear studded boots for the first time since I left St Edmund’s College!”
That school also produced the likes of Wallaby greats George Gregan and Matt Giteau as well as rugby league legend Ricky Stuart. For a while Knight dreamt of joining them on the representative scene but finally had to admit: “Maybe the Super-15 Brumbies team got fed up waiting for me to grow past my present 74 kg and moved on!”
No sooner had he arrived, through Accies development manager Iain Berthinussen having played in Australia, than compatriot Josh Hitchens was ruled out for the remainder of his sojourn after three matches through injury.
But Knight decided to see out his time at Accies to mutual benefits. “I’ve really enjoyed playing and seeing some promising youngsters turn out for Accies including Jamie Farndale who has been with the Scotland Under-20s.
“I’ve only a handful of games left but I’ll do everything I can to ensure Accies play in the top flight next season because with their game-heads on they can be a match for anyone as shown when running Melrose to 29-23 at The Greenyards, a highlight of my stay so far.”
For the trip to Watsonians Knight is confident of shaking off the ankle strain that caused him to retire during last week’s defeat at Hawick but Euan Bonner will replace Jamie Sole at full back.
It is the tun of Heriot’s to attempt to claim Hawick’s unbeaten Group B record and they travel fresh from a 74-14 league win over Hamilton – their biggest since beating Gala 74-0 in season 2005-05. Heriot’s recall Alan Dymock to the front row after helping Scottish clubs beat French counterparts.
In Group A, Currie make seven changes for the visit of Aberdeen recalling Barry Mansfield, Douglas Fife, Andy MacMahon, Jamie Forbes, Richard Snedden, Finlay Gillies, and Ross Weston.
Boroughmuir are looking to make it a hat-trick of wins when they entertain Ayr with youngster Robbie Wilson debuting at prop.
Stewart’s/Melville head for Hawks with Hayden Lingard and Angus Lean restored to the side along with Fraser Morrison and Joni Hare.
Watsonians team lines were unavailable.